No need to travel with unabridged birth certificates welcomed. File pic

The uncertainty of whether you do or don't need to travel with your children's unabridged birth certificates has come to an end.

During a recent radio interview Home Affairs Minister Dr Aaron Motsaeledi clarified that as of now the official position for travellers coming to South Africa with minors is that unabridged birth certificates are not at all required.

This comes after years of confusion in the tourism industry on this issue.

The requirement and subsequent confusion did result in a decrease in tourist arrivals.

Enver Duminy, CEO of Cape Town Tourism says: "Since 2015, the Department of Home Affairs in South Africa has required that all passengers under the age of 18 travel in and out of the country with an Unabridged Birth Certificate. 

"This, together with other decisions by the then Minister of Home Affairs relating to visas, is seen as a factor that caused a drop in tourist numbers to the country. Since then there have been various changes to these requirement seeking to relax them."

Duminy adds: "We welcome the Minister of Home Affairs' announcement scrapping the need for visitors to South Africa to carry unabridged birth certificates. What is key at this point is that this new directive is clearly communicated to officials at ports of entry to ensure the confusion around what is and isn't required from visitors is a thing of the past. "

The exact extent of the legislative change is hard to quantify: "We just don't know how many travellers considering South Africa as a destination, came across contradictory messaging and simply chose an alternative destination. Anecdotal evidence, however, does point to this issue having been significant," says Duminy.